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What is it

SAPI stands for Speech Application Programming Interface, a Microsoft Windows API used to perform text-to-speech (TTS).

Use with Free Pascal

Lazarus / Free Pascal can use this interface to perform TTS. Source: forum post: [1]

On Windows Vista and above, you will run in trouble with the FPU interrupt mask (see [2]). The code dealing with SavedCW is meant to work around this.

  SavedCW: Word;
  SpVoice: Variant;
  SpVoice := CreateOleObject('SAPI.SpVoice');
  // Change FPU interrupt mask to avoid SIGFPE exceptions
  SavedCW := Get8087CW;
    Set8087CW(SavedCW or $4);
    SpVoice.Speak('hi', 0);
    // Restore FPU mask

For the options available with SpVoice.Speak and other SpVoice methods see


Warning: The OLE object created in above snippet will be destroyed automatically when the SpVoice variant goes out of scope. For larger texts the use of the asynchronous mode allows to keep your application reactive while speak is running. In that case it is especially important to control carefully the lifetime of the object and store it in a global or class variable. Destroying the object while speak is still running can cause crashes.

Changing the FPU interrupt mask can be done at any moment before loading the ole object and if your application is not using any floating point arithmetic there is no need to reset the FPU interrupt mask to its original value.

Assigning text to a variable. A WideString must used.

File:procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);
  SpVoice1: Variant;
  VoiceString: WideString; // WideString must be used to assign variable for speech to function, can be Global.
  SpVoice1 := CreateOleObject('SAPI.SpVoice'); // Can be assigned in form.create
  VoiceString := Button1.Caption;              // variable assignment 

Thank you nsunny from 2013 post.

Windows, Linux, OSX alternatives

An alternative on Windows is to use espeak. eSpeak has 11 voices, (7 male and 4 female) and is cross platform supporting Windows, Mac and Linux. It also has many command line parameters which can be used to further improve the speech. When coding, an eSpeak installation can be used and a stand-alone option is available as well.

For a code example, please see the espeak article.

Linux/Unix alternatives

Apart from espeak, on Linux/Unix, there are some other command line Text To Speech engines, that may also offer access via APIs. An example is the festival engine.

See Linux Programming Tips#Perform text-to-speech .28TTS.29 or how to let my computer speak

OSX alternatives

OSX has a system wide text to speech functionality built in: see Mac OS X Text-to-Speech for using text to speech directly (no screenreading)

There's also a screenreader, VoiceOver. See LCL_Accessibility#Mac OS X VoiceOver

See also

  • espeak - Cross platform free Text to Speech engine